DEAL OR NO DEAL

The Bible is a collection of books that tell
a story about a plan that God has in mind.

 First, He created a spiritual reality and 
a physical reality. Oh how vast is the concept! 

 But, for now, we are only going to look 
at mankind's part in this plan of God.

Starting point: Mankind is created; and the plan from the beginning is that all will be given eternal life. But, this part of the plan is kept secret for thousands of years, hidden within God's own mind until the time comes to reveal it some 30 years after the new covenant church is started.

Ending point: All of mankind has had God's full plan revealed to them. They have matured spiritually, and all have been given immortality in a celestial body that can also re-manifest in the physical as Jesus' example has shown.

During the multiple thousands of years that have transpired between the starting point and the ending point of God's plan, several "deals" were made concerning future rewards for the participants. Eternal life, however, was never a part of any deal. Eternal life was never considered a reward of any kind. You cannot deserve it. You cannot earn it. It has always been mankind's destiny as the very purpose and will of God's plan from the beginning.

Here's a few scriptures to illustrate what has been said up to this point:

At the direction of God the Father, the one who became Jesus Christ created the physical and spiritual reality that we are involved in: "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:" Colossians 1:16

The secret part of God's plan: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"
I Corinthians 2:7

And: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:" Ephesians 3:3

This secret will of God involves our having eternal life: "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." - I Timothy 2:4

We were saved in Christ ,as part of God's plan, before the world began; and it has nothing to do with any action (works) we may have done: "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" - II Timothy 1:9


Eternal life is NOT a reward. It is a GIFT.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" - Romans 6:23

Once we have received the free gift of eternal life, our works will be used as the criteria to determine what reward we will, or will not, receive. For example, those Israelites who strive to have a relationship with God by participating in Israel's new covenant will be given authority to reign with Christ during His millennial reign on earth. They will rule over the nations that physically make it through the great tribulation. This also pertains to those non-Israelites who desire to participate in this relationship with God as adopted spiritual Israelites.

"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:12

"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." - Revelation 5:10

That is a pretty good deal(covenant). Those of the sixth level of spiritual understanding and growth are striving for it. However, a thousand years is not forever. It comes to an end. They will then need to go on to the next level of spiritual understanding as all will have to eventually do. This is what awaits those of the new covenant "deal" after the millennial reign is over.

Now, let's take a look at the past several relationships people have had with God according to the "deal"(covenant) they were involved in.

COVENANT WITH NOAH

Genesis 6:18; Genesis 9:9 - 17 - God and Noah entered into a covenant. Noah agreed to do certain things, and God agreed to certain things for Noah. Noah and his family died within this covenant arrangement, being allowed to eat every living thing that creeps upon the face of the earth as food. (Isarel's deal with God forbade this)

Noah's covenant was extended to include the whole earth, and a rainbow was set in the sky as a token of it. Eternal life is not mentioned.

COVENANT WITH ABRAM

Genesis 15:18 - Abram and his descendants are promised physical blessings of land and wealth. He died within this covenant and is yet to receive those promises after he is resurrected. Eternal life is not mentioned.

HERE'S A FEW COVENANTS 
BETWEEN MEN

Genesis 21:7 - "And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant."

Genesis 31:43-44 - "And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?

Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee."

FORBIDDEN COVENANTS

Exodus 23:32 - "Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods."


THE FIRST (OLD) COVENANT 
WITH ISRAEL


Exodus 24:7 - "And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient." Eternal life is not mentioned. In fact, the apostle Paul called this arrangement "a ministration of death."

II Corinthians 3:11 - "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:"

ISRAEL GETS A NEW COVENANT

Jeremiah 31:31 - "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:"

Israel was told they had a new covenant coming; and it would not resemble the previous one. Yet, there are those struggling to mature ,who take precepts from both the old and new covenants and mix them into a strange covenant that exists only in their own minds.

Jeremiah 31: 32-33 - Jeremiah continues in the next verse saying the new covenant is :

" Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

The "new deal" was not always available. It had a definite starting time. And that time was after Jesus died on the tree of crucifixion. Jesus operated through all His ministry under the old covenant deal. In fact, He was the last minister of the old covenant.

If you think self righteousness is visible among the "religious" today, you should have been around during the days of Christ's ministry! It was a physical covenant, with physical ceremonies, and the promise of physical rewards. Everyone strived to appear more righteous than his neighbor.

The rich and super pious would even hire a rag-tag band to go before them rattling tambourines, cymbals, and blowing horns, so attention would be drawn to them as they headed toward the temple to give their offerings.

This is not much different from those today who make a point of praying over their food in public, setting "right up front" at church services, or try to draw attention through bumper stickers.

Christmas displays, and Easter displays have also entered the arena of self-righteous competition among religiously deceived.

Some people were considered more or less blameless under the old covenant. Samson thought by tying a burning stick between the tails of foxes and letting them run to catch the fields of the Philistines on fire, that it made him more blameless than them for the treachery they had previously done.

In the days of Christ's ministry, a priest named Zacharias, and his wife Elizabeth were considered blameless. In fact, they were very good people. But then Jesus came upon the scene. Beyond the paramount mission of paying the death penalty for all mankind, there was also another important mission He was to accomplish. He was to hold the Law of God under a microscope, to magnify it so everyone could REALLY see that they were incapable of being BLAMELESS!

After hundreds of years of participation with the old covenant, no one had ever yet measured up. Everyone had missed the mark. No one had qualified for anything more than death, and Christ was about to illustrate this to them.

Check this out.

Matthew 5: 17-18 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
 
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

Jesus' words began focusing on the subject of the Law of God. He declared that as long as there is a heaven and earth, that the law of God would exist.

Now, the Pharisees and the scribes were considered by far the most righteous among the people. They were the teachers who explained and taught the way to righteousness. And next, Jesus said the students had to exceed their teachers in righteousness in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5: 20-21 "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Notice this. Jesus inferred that a level of righteousness was required to enter the kingdom of heaven. It had to be a level of righteousness far above even that of the teachers ... the most righteous of the time!

He then gave a few examples. Here's one:

Matthew 5: 21-22 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."

Do you realize what Jesus had just done? He took the commandment that said "Thou shalt not kill" and magnified it to read "Thou shalt not be angry with anyone". In explaining the spiritual intent of the Law, he had shown it was humanly impossible to keep.

He had complete authority to do this. In fact, he was prophesied to do this. It was an important commission he was to accomplish.

Those under the old covenant were purely physical. Thinking in spiritual terms was foreign to them. They thought they could see God's intent under the old covenant, but they couldn't. They had eyes and ears, but yet they were blind and deaf to the concept of real love and concern for others.


Isaiah 42: 20-21 "Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.
 
The LORD is well pleased for his [Christ] righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable."

Jesus went on to give a few more examples to show that righteousness was required to enter the kingdom of heaven, but it was also IMPOSSIBLE to achieve, and no one had ever yet accomplished it!

In a few words mankind was backed into a corner with no way out. Everyone, even those previously described as "blameless" were, in fact, doomed!

With the sermon on the mount, Jesus sealed up the final teaching of the Old Covenant. Although perfect righteousness is required to enter the kingdom of heaven, the Old Covenant was a very effective tool to show mankind that no human being could ever achieve it. That was it's purpose. It proved that we ALL need someone to save us.

Now, we all know that in the end, when all is finished, God's will will be done.

Take a look at this statement about God's will:

I Timothy 2:4 "[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

This will be done. It has nothing to do with any covenant, or deal with anyone. It has nothing to do with your righteousness, or my righteousness. Moses was a good man, but it has nothing to do with him either.

We all need to get this: It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that saves all of mankind, because, just as the sins of Adam were IMPUTED to all mankind, so the righteousness of Jesus Christ will be IMPUTED to all mankind. This is part of no deal! This is fact. This is your destiny as determined by God from the beginning!

Romans 5:6-12 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

This is the Biblical doctrine of IMPUTATION.
It cannot be written any clearer. The sins of ONE man was imputed to all mankind. Now get this, even if you never sinned once in your life ........ you still have the death penalty hanging over you, because Adam's sin has been imputed to you! You think that's unfair?

Well, the fact is, it doesn't matter what you think. Nor, does it matter what I think. It is God who is doing the thinking here! And here's what He thought of next:

verse 18 "Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." .

This is also the Biblical doctrine of IMPUTATION. And this example couldn't be written any clearer. The Law of God owes Christ! He didn't deserve to die. Instead of holding that as some kind of "ace in the hole" over God's head, He pays your bill with it! Do you also feel that's unfair?

Paul understood where the needed righteousness came from:

Galatians 2:21 "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

We all need to read this over several times, slowly: "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

Here's the quick version of what happened:

God created mankind. Mankind (as well as many celestial beings) screwed up. No one was found throughout history undeserving of death because the first man's screw up was imputed to all his descendants. The screw-ups in heaven maintained their individual records. Since God is their Father no sin was "imputed" to them. They did it on their own on an individual basis. 

However, their sins were probably imputed to their offspring. Eventually, heaven and earth both needed to be reconciled to God.

The father of the Elohim (God) sent his son into the family of man. He lived a totally righteous life and still received the death penalty. 

The Law of God now stood unbalanced. The creator of all mankind and was now dead! Jesus paid a price for somebody, but it wasn't for Himself! This credit for paying the penalty of sin was then imputed to all He had created, and not just mankind. Now, things in heaven and earth are unscrewed!

Colossians 1:20 "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."

Apart from all this, there are the covenants; and they have nothing to do with reconciliation to God. They are merely "lesser deals" within the greater plan of God.

The new covenant is another covenant made exclusively with the nation of Israel. It has nothing to do with eternal life. It is focused on the blessings and rewards certain Israelites will receive as participants in this covenant once they have already been given eternal life at Christ's return.

Although you might not be Israelite by heritage, you can still attach yourself to this deal of God by becoming a "spiritual" Israelite. And that opportunity pertains to anyone whether they are English, Italian, Eskimo, Zulu, Chinese, Russian, Bohemian, white, black, half and half, red, yellow, blue or purple. All can become an adopted Israelite if they wish.

The promised reward for this covenant is really something to behold. Participants are offered rulership with Jesus Christ, for a thousand years here on earth, while a millennium long re-beautification process is carried out on planet earth. The deserts will be irrigated and blossom forth with verdant vegetation. Small farms will spring up all over the world. Wars will be outlawed. There will be no more pain and sickness. Handi-capped stickers will be a thing of the past. The pace of life will slow down. The true values in life will become more and more obvious to people. Friendship, outgoing concern for others, time spent with family and friends will become the important things.

People will then have time to learn of the truth of God's plan for them. Those who survive the coming Great Tribulation at the end of this evil age, will be taught by those who understand the truth of God now, and have participated now in the new covenant.

Here's a couple snap shots of that time:

Revelation 20:1-2 "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,"

Verses 4-6 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
 
These are some of the people who will be in the first resurrection. They include those who have attached themselves to the new covenant, the old covenant, or had no covenant but strived to work on growing spiritually in this life.

Some will have been dead for hundreds of years before the resurrection. Others will be living at Christ's return and changed into a spirit being at His return.

But the scriptures go on:

"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." [referring back to what was said in previous verses].

The rest of the dead include all those from the beginning of creation until the return of Christ that never heard of the word of God, all atheists, followers of pagan based religion, and all those who never had any chance by reason of dying as an infant. To sum it up, it includes all who were not in the first resurrection.

They will be brought back to life in a physical existence. They too will be taught. The earth, at the time of their resurrection, will look like a paradise. This is the period of the Great White Throne judgment.

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. "

Verse 7 "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,"

Verses 11-12 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."

There is a level (mature 7th level) of spiritual growth that contains the understanding that eventually everybody will be saved from death, and that even the condition called "death" itself will be destroyed. 

This is a very mature level, that also knows that legally, before God Almighty, we already have been granted the rights and privileges of God Himself as one of His very own family. 

And we must be very cautious of the things we say and do, because nothing we do can now be classified as sin because of who we are. This is a great responsibility.

Now we are the sons of God. We are now considered legally citizens of heaven, of the household of God, and as members of the God Family, whatever we do, it cannot be called sin.

I John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

I John 3:9 - "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

Legally, we are NOW a member of the Elohim. All that remains is to have our physical bodies changed into a celestial one at Christ's return.

Those in this level of understanding are not looking for the rewards of Israel's new covenant. Although, they may visit the millennial reign of Christ and the saints on earth, they will be normally situated near God's throne in heaven, or carrying out instructions throughout the vast reaches of the Universe among civilizations we only suspected might be there.

A lot of teaching will be going on during the millennium. The Old Covenant with it's levitical priesthood will be reestablished early on. Most nations will be brought through this "school master" first just as Israel was. Next, they too will come to learn beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they need a Savior. All (in heaven and earth) will eventually come to see just who Jesus Christ is, even previously rebellious sons of God, and including Satan.

With the entire state of affairs corrected, Jesus Christ will deliver up the kingdom to God the Father and He, the Father will come here to live.

I Corinthians 15: 22-26 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Revelation 21:1-5 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
 
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
 
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."

Yes, the last enemy to be destroyed is death.

If even one being in all creation (including Satan) remains dead at that distant future time, then death will not have been destroyed. But death is to be destroyed. 

It is the last enemyof God's master plan for all creation. It will be destroyed. Satan will have his mind changed. And, he too will live.

The Great Plan of God supersedes the significance of any internal "deals" within that plan. And, you are free to choose any covenant you aspire to attach yourself to. 

However, taking parts of one and adding it to another to concoct your own, such as mixing the old covenant with the new as a display of the self-righteousness you deny you have, may head you straight into the school master of coming Levitical priesthood to teach you a foundational lesson to build on.

The new covenant is really the better of the two. It is easier, and even has better promises. But you will have to let go of the veneration of old covenant holy days, sabbaths, food laws and the like.

As for me, I thank God Almighty that He has allowed me the maturity to see the Mystery, and to see that I need not attach myself to any past "deal." 

 I am swallowed up within the incredible, and magnificent scope of his Great magnanimous Plan without any deals. 

I will not try to save myself. Though I know I may now come boldly before the throne of God in prayer, I can hardly look Christ in the face. I am so humbled by Him. 

I owe everything, everything to Him. I wish I could be more like him. I only hope that God the Father will notice me among his children. I would like to help.

Until I die, let me echo the words of Job.

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:" Job 13:15

"If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands." - Job 14:14-15

To have Job's frame of mind in the above verses is my prayer, not only for me, but for whomever may be reading this.





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